Speech by the Prime Minister on the "XVIII Conference of Ambassadors"
Aug. 27, 2009
Distinguished Ministers, Ladies and Gentlemen, Distinguished Ambassadors, Ladies and Gentlemen,
For a year, I made particular in countries in difficult circumstances: Lebanon, Nigeria, Iraq, Comoros, and each time I measured the demanding conditions, often dangerous in which you live and work.
I have seen your professionalism, your courage and your dedication. With Bernard Kouchner, Alain and Pierre Lellouche Joyandet, today I wanted to first thank you.
The year just passed has been difficult. I do not know if also a prime minister one day, began a speech otherwise. There were of course first and foremost, the economic crisis. But we have experienced conflict at the gates of Europe, Georgia, a new tragedy in Gaza with the resulting virtual halt in the peace process, the deadlock on the Iranian nuclear crisis that extends Afghan pakistan. Yet, 2009 has been less disastrous than might have been feared. Dare I say that our vigilance and our collaborative approach enabled a cautious return of hope? First, nationally, we could lay the groundwork for ending the crisis we are now seeing the results. And internationally, I want to note that a relative calm is emerging in several regions. Iraq, which I visited in July, following the early withdrawal of U.S. forces, is again a sovereign country. France, its authorities, its companies take their full part in its economic normalization and its reintegration into the international community.
In Lebanon, a copy of the electoral process was conducted. It should enable the new prime minister appointed to work towards reconciliation in the country, where I led a large delegation of business leaders last November. This success is of course primarily the success of the Lebanese. But it is also, dear Bernard, the French strategy of reconciliation between the Lebanese and dialogue with all parties concerned, including Syria.
You know, we deploy a new, open to the questioning of reflexes and practices.
In Africa, President of the Republic has announced the revision of defense agreements, the opening of its partnerships with emerging powers and a broader engagement of private actors in supporting its development. In Cameroon and Nigeria, have signed agreements that accurately reflect this evolution.
In the Middle East, new prospects have opened with the speech in Cairo by President Obama June 4, we must seize. The war with Georgia had revived the Cold War reflexes. The Moscow summit on 6 July augurs a more constructive that we can work with Russia on major global issues: climate, financial regulation, terrorism, proliferation. Everywhere, a second observation encourages our voluntarism: it is that a certain democratic vitality. Democracy is slowly taking root, it is fragile, it is threatened, and I think we can say it has become a test case and common horizon for many countries.
Where democratic practice existed, reinforcing the years. And we've had with India and Indonesia, two examples this year of its force. In Afghanistan as in Iraq, an unacceptable violence reminds us of the fragility of progress and millions of men and women took the risk to vote to appropriate a slightly better fate. In Iran, people have expressed their desire for renewal and it coincides with a bold evolution of the United States in favor of dialogue with Tehran. Iran will seize the opportunities of this dialogue, otherwise its isolation will become increasingly heavy, and immediately, he must drop the charges against extravagant and Clotilde Reiss Nazak afsha.
Ladies and gentlemen, it is customary to say that the world is more dangerous today than yesterday. It is badly known history. The dangers have not disappeared, but the world is better than yesterday, brow before these collective challenges. The economic crisis has joined a growing number of countries in the new global governance has long been advocated by France. At Aquila - and the President of the Republic recalled yesterday - we took a decisive step towards the G14, the G20 heads of state met for the first time a year ago, following the initiative of President of the Republic, has launched real world projects for regulation and reform of international institutions. G20 Pittsburgh, we will continue to weigh in favor of an ambitious agenda in this direction.
We will continue to refuse such protectionism without compromising our demand for reciprocity, I think including respect for labor standards and the fight against dumping money. At the International Committee of Economic Cooperation and Development, which I chaired, June 5, I confirmed that despite an extremely difficult budgetary situation, our aid effort would be maintained; CICID also taken several decisions to make French aid more effective and focused. We continue to plead with the same force for the success of the Copenhagen Summit in December, too much play there so we can be satisfied with half-promises and theoretical commitments. We are encouraged by the results obtained with Aquila, but he must now go further, enter the 2% limit of temperature increase in the Agreement, it must set the overall goal of reducing 50% emissions reduction by 2050 should be stopped, too, medium-term objectives, and must especially strengthen the idea that every country in the world are concerned and should act even if, naturally, their commitments can vary depending on their level of development.
We all know how difficult this task is extreme, but I want to say that France is at the forefront of this fight and I ask you to relay our constant arguments and opinions from governments of your country of residence. Of course, success will depend primarily on the assertion of a real European leadership.
Ladies and Gentlemen, more than ever, Europe is the focus of government action and Pierre Lellouche is on all fronts. When a new Commission will develop, we must not forget the main lesson of the French Presidency of the European Union. Europe lacks the means within action, that of political will to act. To stimulate and coordinate this determination, the role of large Member States is crucial. We also place great hopes in the new position of stable presidency of the European Council which will establish whether, as we hope, the Treaty of Lisbon is ratified soon by all member states.
But even beyond the issue of climate and security of energy supply, European yards that back in 2009 are significant. And there is first - and I want to say is the primary - out of the crisis. We have been in France and Europe in an economic shock as we had never known since the Second World War. Overall, the European response has been good. The recovery plans put in place in each state have reduced the violence of the shock and initiate economic recovery faster than we imagine there are still a few months. But the truth is that for Europe, the challenge remains. For 2010, the International Monetary Fund and most forecasters predict that European growth will not exceed 1% cons more than 2% in the United States and more than 4% in Asia and the Middle East. I want to tell you that the European economy can not be satisfied with slow growth, because this slow growth is not compatible with the preservation of the European social model, nor with the requirement to reduce public debts which have exploded over the past year.
To quickly find a dynamic growth, Europeans have to rely on a common strategy of real crisis, he must say it has so far failed. The European political context, however, is exceptionally conducive to the definition and implementation of such a strategy, a new Commission will be installed in the coming months and will be - at least I hope so - free of the institutional debates years and should benefit from a phase of political stability in most large European countries. This common strategy, it must be based on two pillars: first, the maximum exploitation of the internal market potential with a much more proactive in terms of investment and then a joint programming and realistic restoration of public finances. The first part, France has led the way with the great debate organized around the work of the Commission headed by Alain Juppé and Michel Rocard, in reality, face the risk of reduced growth potential because of the crisis, We must be able to create the new GDP. Today I hope we Europeanize approach to future investment in the preparation of guidelines for post-2010 Lisbon strategy to be adopted by the European Council under the Spanish presidency.
So far, European firms are still waiting for a real European response to several key questions: how will we support the changes in the automotive sector, especially with the great challenge of the electric vehicle? It's been over six months we propose that the Commission take the initiative to bring together all the European powers in this area, aid the development of green growth; facilitating necessary adjustments to European industries vital, as chemical or electrical industry, electronics, and the fight against the emergence of environmental dumping. It is vital, Ladies and Gentlemen, the Commission initiated last great investment policy for the future.
Action European science and technology also promises to be essential for growth tomorrow. Therefore, we must now prepare our proposals for the next Research Framework Program, but we must also ensure that major programs being emblematic - I think Iter or Galileo - really know the success they deserve because they are essential in radiation science, industry and economic development of Europe.
The second component of this strategy must involve the public finances, where you know it is serious, the public debt of the ten richest countries in the G20 was increased from 78% of GDP in 2008 to almost 100% this year. Part of this debt will be resolved naturally mechanically with the economic recovery, but not all and it is essential that the Community authorities engages with Member States, joint programming and realistic must naturally take into account what has happened in the world, to restore their public finances in order to guard Europe against the risk of spiraling public debt. In this regard, the Franco-German couple has to overcome his apparent differences in sensitivities because it's up to him to lead the European Union. Finally, alongside the implementation of these actions in Europe must continue its efforts to better regulate the international financial system and to do it itself must be exemplary in establishing a true European financial supervision, Revision of the Banking Directive on the supervision of hedge funds, or on the regulation of derivatives market. We under the leadership of President of the Republic, to play a leading role within the G20. Many results have been achieved but there are still challenges that lie ahead on the strength of the banking system, the risks of regulatory arbitrage or the stabilization of commodity prices and exchange rates. On all these issues, it is our responsibility to develop joint monitoring mechanisms that will protect us from new global imbalances. By speaking with one voice that Europe will weigh on all these vital topics. The EU budget debate begins in a few months, with initial thoughts on the new Financial Perspectives post-2013. It gives me the opportunity to remember two numbers:
France contributes annually to 19 billion to the EU budget. She receives 14 billion annually, including agricultural policy. This vision of Europe accounting course is one aspect of the fragmentary "European stock" for France, but our partners will understand that the position of largest net contributor - with Germany - can not resist forever the current tensions in public finances.
Ladies and Gentlemen Ambassadors, I would finally like to say a word about domestic policy because, basically, one of your functions is also shown in the country where you exercise your responsibilities, how France is changing. The crisis has not stopped us in our reform momentum, quite the contrary. After four quarters of decline related to the global crisis, we record today, the first signs of recovery including increased activity in the second quarter, 0.3% supported by growth in consumption and the positive contribution foreign trade. This encouraging trend sets France in major developed economies. In Europe, only the performance of Germany is comparable. Our choice of a recovery based on the investment support has been a success and indeed it is recognized as such by the OECD and the International Monetary Fund.
Already, 18.2 billion were injected into the economy. More than half of budget commitments devoted to investment in the recovery plan have been consumed. However, the crisis is not over, even if signs of inflection appear for three months. We first situation of labor market will remain particularly difficult in the coming quarters, as we have not found a sufficient growth. And then we see that all decisions postponed business investment, because of the crisis will affect the growth of next month. The recovery remains fragile and is now consolidated. And the best way to consolidate is to continue the reform effort we have undertaken to lay the foundations for sustainable growth. Thus we will this year complete the removal of business tax, we're going with this decision which is in addition to the establishment of the research tax credit and what I call the end of 35 hours, we now have a competitive situation for the French companies that is not commensurate with what we have known.
We will continue to focus this effort on the most promising areas - digital, biotechnology, the car of the future. And we all better focus with the clusters, we have moved from a logic of dispersal to a logical connection between the different partners. Now, and it is a novelty in our country: businesses, public research organizations, universities revitalized by the Autonomy Act and the Campus Plan work together. In all these sectors, those who bear the mark of the green growth will devote the development of new production systems.
We will vigorously pursue our fight for the job that started at the beginning of the quinquennium, the merger if unlikely ANPE and UNEDIC, and who decides this on three fronts: prevention of redundancies, about which, moreover, we learn much of Germany's return to employment of the most vulnerable, through a range of accompanying measures and training, and finally support the creation of jobs by the exemption from charges in very small businesses. With the President of the Republic, we remain faithful to our proactive strategy. We're going with this in mind in 2010 a further step in reforming our pension plans. We will initiate a thorough reform of territorial organization with the simplification of the organization and arrangements to bring communities together and ensure that they are no longer competing, but they are complementary. And finally, we will continue our efforts to reform public policies that require more than ever reform of administrative structures and a declining enrollment. We will continue the overhaul of public policy and we will pursue the same time a decisive battle: that of the control of public finances.
I want to come back again on this subject say that the height of our structural deficit is threatening the very survival of our economic systems. We will not resort to raise taxes because higher taxes in a country that has world records in this area and in a crisis, would only result of that stop the recovery that s 'primer. We will not put in place sound policies. But we continue, year after year, stubbornly our effort to reduce state spending.
The green growth, employment, research, priorities should enable us to sort drastically between good investments - those who demonstrate their future performance - and the poor who are cutting back so intolerable Capabilities Action of the public. This policy reform, it is up to you ladies and Gentlemen to make it known. It is your responsibility to use it before and Pittsburgh, Copenhagen before you press it, to strengthen our positions. Winning the battle for influence, it is also the subject of the bill that was adopted by the Council of Ministers, whose main purpose is to create two operators responsible for one of our cultural action drive external and the other to more effectively manage our university cooperation and technical expertise. We must continue reforms in the spirit of the RGPP. And already, I wish to acknowledge the contribution that represents the new crisis center ministry. A year after its creation by Bernard Kouchner, he has repeatedly demonstrated its usefulness. I know the moves to the sites of La Courneuve and Convention, and organizational changes have put the central government contribution. It must now reform the system allows the economies of personnel and means determined by the Committee of modernization of public policies. I measure how much the budget constraint imposed on all can be burdensome for those Ambassadors who are reducing their credit intervention. I am fully aware of the risks present degradation sustainable ways of our diplomatic action. And I want this in mind, you say that the Ministry of Foreign Affairs is one of the few departments in 2010 should benefit from increased credit, compared to allocations determined in the triennial budget 2009-2011 and in a global context, which for the third consecutive year that a freeze state spending in volume. We will make a special effort for cultural action, for aid to Afghanistan and Pakistan, for teaching French abroad for official development assistance and the safety of our personnel.
Ladies and Gentlemen Ambassadors, in recent months - and it is a novelty in our country - the debate on action outside of France, Afghanistan and external operations have led Parliament. To mark our return to the integrated structures of NATO, I committed the responsibility of my government on the foreign policy of France. The national representation has continued to testify to our diplomatic support that mirrors that of French. I want to tell you that our countrymen are proud of our foreign policy is conducted in their name. And it is just a homage to be rendered by you, since you assume a daily basis, the influence of France in the world.